Since Twin Palms closed its doors in late 2009, the beloved Pasadena restaurant and dancing hotspot—and location for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser among other high-profile events—long stood frozen in time on the corner of De Lacey Avenue and Green Street, with its white sails still hovering above the patio where chairs stood stacked up inside.
That is until recently, when a sign went up outside to proclaim that the “New” Twin Palms is opening in January 2013.
So just what is the vision for this new incarnation of the restaurant with the same name?
Patch caught up Thursday with new owner Sam Khachatrian, who took over on Aug. 8.
“I live on the same block and every time I would walk by I would remember going to Twin Palms and each night me and my girlfriend would walk by and I would say, ‘What a shame, it’s just sitting there,’” said Khachatrian, who grew up in Glendale. “I did that for about 6 months and finally there was a sign that said, ‘For Lease’, so I made the call and a year later I finally got it.”
Khachatrian’s vision for the new Twin Palms is very similar to the old Twin Palms—he even negotiated with the previous owners to keep the name—but he wants to make it better.
“I want it to be done the way people would want it to be done,” said Khachatrian, who is asking the public for suggestions.
The new Twin Palms will also be family-owned and operated.
“Twin Palms was always about the ambiance,” said Khachatrian. “The food was mediocre.”
He’s looking to improve the Twin Palms dining experience and make the menu “dynamic” with a “Mediterranean flair” including lots of grilled fish.
While the new Twin Palms did not have a chef as of last Thursday, Khachatrian said he was talking to the original Twin Palms chef.
The price point will likely be similar to that of a Houston’s or Cheesecake Factory, where a variety of people can dine, said Khachatrian.
Sunday brunch will also be returning and Khachatrian wants to focus more on it.
Khachatrian wants a very natural look for the space but is investing heavily in upgrading the look and feel of Twin Palms, including new bars, replacing the sails with better material, a new sound system from Bang & Olufsen, refinishing the concrete floor, removing paint from the brick walls, new lighting and a brand new kitchen.
One of the iconic Twin Palms palm trees was also dying and Khachatrian saved it.
Part of the area around the dance floor will be turned into a lounge that will offer bottle service, but Khachatrian said that won’t be a requirement for sitting there and guests can order appetizers or other items.
Dancing to live bands that performed 80s, disco/funk and contemporary hits was a staple of the old Twin Palms that was hard to find elsewhere and Khachatrian wants to continue the trend, though he is not sure yet on how many days a week.
Since Khachatrian shared that he is friends with the lead guitarist of Def Leppard, he hopes to get the famous strummer to stop by often to play.
DJs spinning contemporary dance songs on certain nights will be a new addition, but the new Twin Palms is “not going to be the type of environment where you’ll choose between us and them,” Khachatrian said, noting Old Town dance spots like Club Menage and Villa Sorriso.
The new Twin Palms will not be promoted as a nightclub and Khachatrian said there will not be a cover charge since he doesn’t believe in it.
“At the end of the day, I’m doing this for everybody else,” said Khachatrian.
The new Twin Palms is set to open Jan. 2013 but Khachatrian hopes to possibly open by the holidays or New Year’s Eve.
What do you think of Twin Palms re-opening and the vision for the space? Share your thoughts in the comments.